Follow these kitchen Spring cleaning tips and, with just a little maintenance, you can extend the life of your appliances and pipes and prevent costly repairs.

Last month we addressed some exterior maintenance chores that Charlotte homeowners should be tackling in spring, but the inside of our kitchens require just as much (some may say even more!) attention. While these projects don’t necessarily need to be addressed at this specific time of the year, it’s a good idea to get them on a regular schedule – and what better time than the present?

Break out the bleach.

If you’ve ever noticed an odor coming from a sink, it’s generally because of buildup in the pipes or P traps (U-shaped sections of pipe that hold water and prevent sewer gas from rising back into your home). While flushing your pipes with water on a regular basis is good, you occasionally need a little more oomph to eliminate grease buildup that causes clogs and bacteria that causes odors. Pouring about 12 ounces of bleach down the drain at night and then flushing it with water the next morning should do the trick. (If you’d rather not use harsh chemicals, pour 1/2 cup of baking soda down the pipe followed by 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar – close the drain clog and let the combination work for about 5 minutes before rinsing.

Wash the dishwasher.

Although it may sound counterintuitive, you should clean the appliance that cleans your dishes regularly. Experts suggest pulling out the bottom rack and manually removing any debris from the drain. Then, place a cup of white vinegar on the top rack and run a hot water cycle to eliminate grease and odors. Next, sprinkle a cup of baking soda across the bottom and run another hot water cycle. This removes interior stains. (Experts suggest following this regimen about once a month.)

Check for leaks.

Check under your sinks for any signs of slow water leaks, (drips, wetness or staining). It’s also a good idea to purge the area under sinks of excessive items that can make it difficult to notice if you have a leak.

Change filters.

Refrigerator and water system filters have a limited shelf life. Follow manufacturer instructions (or heed the warnings if your system is automated) to ensure that you are getting the full benefits of your filtration devices.

It’s not exhausting.

Range hood / exhaust fans take the brunt of cooking abuse, from grease spatters to absorbing odors, but the good news is they are easy to clean. Simply remove the filter, run it under hot water, sprinkle on some backing soda and use a little elbow grease and a toothbrush to remove any stubborn grease before washing it in hot, soapy water (just be sure to let it dry thoroughly before you replace it.) You can then run them through the dishwasher once a week for regular cleaning.

With just a little maintenance, you can extend the life of your appliances and pipes and prevent costly repairs.